This imaginary triangle links the centers of the sink, cooktop, and refrigerator and should not exceed 26 feet in total perimeter. No leg of the triangle should be longer than 9 feet or shorter than 4 feet (in some really small kitchens, this may not be possible) and no major traffic pattern should intersect the work triangle.
Select your big appliances early, so you can tailor the design to fit their dimensions. To accommodate the appliance you want when you are working within the existing footprint, it’s important to know their sizes up front, so you can design with them in mind. Not all major appliances are standard sizes; the difference of a few inches in any direction can make a design either feasible or impossible to implement.
Adapted with permission from Not So Big Remodeling, by Sarah Susanka and Marc Vassalo, published by The Taunton Press (2009).